White Powder on AC Filter

As temperatures continue to drop during winters in South Dakota, so does the humidity in your home. Dry air can cause itchy skin, bloody noses, static electricity and more. To deal with these uncomfortable living conditions or to relieve respiratory symptoms of a sick family member, homeowners often wonder how to put moisture into dry air and may decide to buy or use a small, portable, ultrasonic cool mist humidifier.

Problem solved, right? But there may be more to the story. Howe receives many calls from customers in this situation where customers say their furnace has quit working. Upon inspection, technicians often determine the filter is clogged even though it looks clean and there are no other apparent issues. no other issues are apparent. So what’s the problem?

The culprit is often your ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. This humidifier works by misting the water into the air, but leaves a fine white powder when the water is in the process of evaporating. The water evaporates, but the minerals in the water do not. That powder goes into the air, collects on the furnace filter and clogs it quickly. This is also easy to miss when glancing at the filter. A trick is to tap the filter on the ground to see if minerals leave evidence on the floor.

To prevent this issue altogether, homeowners may want to consider installing a whole house humidifier for winter instead.

What Is a Whole Home Humidifier?

Whole house humidifiers are central air humidifiers that are permanently installed directly to the HVAC system and work by bringing water vapor into your home.

There are two main types of whole home humidifier systems:

  • Steam Humidifiers
  • Evaporative Humidifiers
    • Bypass Humidifiers
    • Fan-powered humidifiers

Steam Humidifiers(such as AprilAire Model 800)
Steam humidifiers are best for larger homes with more square footage. They work alongside your heating system to convert water into steam before it’s introduced into the duct system. They’re the largest upfront investment, and they may be more than some homeowners need.

Bypass Humidifiers(such as AprilAire Model 600)
Bypass humidifiers harness the power of evaporation to humidify the home. The air produced by your HVAC system moves through a bypass tube that contains the humidifier, which introduces evaporated water into the duct system.

Annual maintenance is generally required for bypass humidifiers and they’re typically the most affordable option and a suitable for most homes.

Are Humidifiers Good for Winter?

Whole house humidifier installation has many benefits for homes with dry air in the winter. Viruses survive longer in low humidity. A dry house can cause or amplify dry nasal passages, sore throats and sinus infections. Overly dry air can also damage wood floors, furniture and even cause paint to crack over time.

So How Do I Know if Whole House Humidifier Installation Is Right for Me?

If you’re wondering how to tell if air is dry in the house, some signs are: increased static electricity, recurring nosebleeds and dry skin, chapped lips, and dry throat and sinuses.

Howe installs and services high-quality whole house humidifiers, such as Aprilaire and Honeywell. Call or text Howe today at 605-339-2020 or fill out our online contact form if you’re interested in a whole home humidifier in Sioux Falls. We will be happy to discuss your options and find the right one for your home.